Numerous are those who have pondered the question throughout history, “How far from Paradise to Hell?” Ancient volumes such as Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost demonstrate how attractive this topic has been over the years. Due to today’s technology we know that it is exactly 342.41 miles according to MapQuest and I-75 is the road to Hell. Hell claims a population of 266 souls and a zip code of 48169. I speak of Hell, Michigan, of course, and not the place populated by the Devil and his angels (Mat. 25:41). Nevertheless, what of the population of the biblical hell?
The Bible tells us exactly who will be in hell. This is not an exhaustive list, but it's a good start: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8). “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Rev. 22:15). “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21). “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:21-23). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness... Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Rom. 1:18, 29-32). “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment...” (Mat. 25:41, 46).
So, inspiration, offers this insight into the character of our Lord: He "will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4; cf. Jho. 8:32; 17:17); He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet. 3:9; cf. Acts 2:38); and finally, "the goodness of God" is designed to lead me "to repentance" (Rom. 2:4). His Son suffered in my stead so that I would not add to the population of Hell (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:6-10; 6:3-7). His gospel was completely revealed to men so that I would not spend eternity with the devil and his angels (Rom. 1:16-17; Jude 3). As the sweet singer of Israel, let us cry out, "I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God" (Psa. 40:17).
- Rick Popejoy